Ukraine is one of those countries in Europe that have diverse climate and relief. Therefore, the old clothing traditions are also rather different for various regions. Today, we’d like to talk about one of the most curious Ukrainian areas – a so-called “Polissia”. It is a region of dense forests and swamps, that’s why the clothing customs here are a little bit extraordinary. The vintage sets of folk clothing from Polissia are preserved in Ukrainian museums and in a pretty good shape. So, we’d like to show you 7 full sets of absolutely beautiful women’s costumes from Ukrainian Polissia.
#7 Simple but feminine attire
Women’s vintage costume from Narodychi district, Zhytomyr region of Ukraine (northern part of the country).
The outfit consists of a long embroidered shirt, a skirt called “litnyk”, an apron with embroidery and ruffles, a long fabric sash, a coral necklace, and a kerchief.
#6 Costume for chilly weather
Festive women’s attire from Liubeshiv district, Volyn’ region of Ukraine.
The outfit includes a knee-length embroidered shirt, a woven skirt called “litnyk”, an apron, a woven belt called “kraika”, several rows of glass necklace (fake corals), a headdress that consists of a coif and a so-called “namitka” (long rectangular piece of cloth with embroidered edges), and a woolen outer garment called “svyta” (belted with another kraika).
#5 Outfit with corset-like garment
Women’s folk dress from Olevsk district, Zhytomyr region of Ukraine (northern part of the country).
The outfit consists of a long embroidered shirt (in this area, it is called “chekhlyk”), a long woven skirt called “litnyk”, an apron decorated with embroidery and ruffles, a wide colorful fabric belt, a bodice called “stanik” (simpler Ukrainian analog of European corset – it served the same purpose: to support the bust), a kerchief with a coif underneath, and a coral necklace.
#4 Bright attire with religious jewels
Female folk costume from Polissia area (Northern Ukraine).
It consists of an embroidered shirt, a long woven skirt, an apron, a woven belt called “kraika”, a bright kerchief, and necklaces. Red is the favorite color of this Ukrainian region – locals often embroider with red threads.
The necklace set is interesting here. It includes many rows of fake corals (made from smalt or clay) and 3 small icons of God called “molitovka” used as a necklace by religious women.
#3 Woven-only costume
This attire is from Ratniv district, Volyn’ region of Ukraine (the very north-western part of the country).
Festive female folk costume with woven adornments only. There is no embroidery on these garments – all the patterns are woven into the fabric.
It consists of a short shirt, a skirt called “litnyk”, an apron, a woven belt called “kraika”, jewelry (fake corals – glass-beaded necklace), and a headdress that includes a wooden headband (serves as a carcass) and a piece of cloth called “namitka”.
#2 Traditional costume of a matchmaker at weddings
This particular attire is from Ratniv district, Volyn’ region of Ukraine (the very north-western part of the country).
The clothing set includes a shirt, a skirt, an apron, glass-beaded necklaces (such beads often were made from clear glass and silver-plated inside), and a fancy headdress (consists of a wooden headband – serves as a carcass; a long rectangular piece of cloth called “namitka”; a bright fabric band made from colorful ribbons sewn together and adorned with beads; and 2 bunches of rooster feathers – serve as a decoration).
All of these clothing articles are embellished with applique, rather than embroidery or weaving. So, it is easier to make such a costume than a traditional Ukrainian embroidered outfit.
A matchmaker is a very important figure at a traditional Ukrainian wedding (today, such traditional ceremonies are extremely rare). People used to call all groom’s unmarried or newlywed female relatives “matchmakers” (something like bridesmaids from His side). So, there were sometimes 20-30 women dressed as you see here at a wedding. They performed certain rituals and made the celebration even more bright and merry.
#1 Winter outfit
Female winter clothing from Ovruch district, Zhytomyr region of Ukraine (northern part of the country, so-called “Polissia” area or woodland).
The outfit consists of a long embroidered shirt called “chekhlyk”, a woven skirt called “litnyk”, a woven apron (carpet weaving technique is used to make it), a woolen coat called “svyta”, a fabric belt called “kraika”, a necklace, and a headdress (includes a coif and a piece called “namitka” – long rectangular piece of cloth wrapped around the head). During harsh winter weather, women wore a second skirt, apron, and belt – several more layers to keep the body warm.
As for footwear, leather boots were used in winter, but not everyone could afford them, so women often used puttees and bast shoes. During cold weather, the puttees reached above the knee to cover as much skin as possible. Though, they were not comfy at all because the fabric wasn’t stretchy and hugged the leg too tightly. A person could use such puttees only for a couple of hours or even less.